FIFA World Cup 2022: There was a ruckus after the match between Serbia and Switzerland, know what is the real root of this tension?
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Chaos erupted in the Serbia-Switzerland Group G World Cup match on Saturday, in which Switzerland won 3-2 to secure a place in the round of 16. From the viral obscene gesture by Switzerland’s goalkeepers to abusive and racist chants by Serbians, bitter memories of the Kosovo conflict were evoked during the second half of the match. After scoring the first goal in the second half Switzerland K Granit Xhaka made an obscene gesture while taking a dig at Serbia’s possible defeat. His teammate Xherdan Shaqiri was being mocked by Serbian fans while playing. After putting the ball in the net, he put his finger on his lips and celebrated by pointing to the name on the back of his shirt. Both Swiss players are originally born in ethnic Albanian families.
Serbs, on the other hand, were seen abusing and shouting slogans during the match. One could clearly hear the word cipter in the songs, which is used to insult Albanians. The slogans of kill, kill, kill the Albanians were also echoing there. Fans also sang “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia”, which refers to their country’s refusal to recognize Kosovo’s independence. This song would start from one corner and the rest of the fans would repeat it till the other corner.
The root of the conflict between Serbia and Switzerland
As happened four years ago, this time also the root cause of the Serbia-Switzerland dispute is Serbia’s refusal to recognize Kosovo as an independent country. 14 years ago, Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. Despite the meeting between these two sides in Russia, the diplomatic deadlock between Serbia and Kosovo continues. There is caste animosity between the two sides as was clearly seen in Saturday’s clash. It also reflects the political situation in Kosovo where the government forced drivers to return their Serbian issued license plates. There is no solution in sight to the Serbia-Kosovo dispute. Their relations are political as well as emotional, deeply rooted in the Balkan character.
history of families
Both the players involved in Saturday’s controversial gesture are personally involved in the conflict. Xhaka’s father was a pro-Kosovo activist and was allegedly tortured in prison by the Serbian regime in the late 80s. In 2018, he was the first person to perform the eagle salute after scoring a goal in the second half. This time, anticipating the defeat of Serbia, he made an obscene gesture. Xhaka stopped playing for the Swiss team when his family moved to Switzerland, while his brother Tolent plays for the Albanian national team.
Shaqiri, who used a finger on his lips to signal the crowd to silence, was four when his family moved to Switzerland just before the war broke out. Both players in Russia 2018 world Cup During the Switzerland-Serbia match also came in similar controversies. Then both the teams collided with each other in the current situation in the competition. Granit Xhaka celebrated his equalizing goal in that match by making an Albanian eagle with his hands. After the goal, Shaqiri, convinced that his team were reaching the last 16, imitated his teammate in celebration; The accusations were confrontational and fierce, culminating in several fines by FIFA.